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Bread

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(לֶחֶם, le'chem; ἄρτος.), a word of far more extensive meaning among the Hebrews than at present with us. There are passages in which it appears to be applied to all kinds of victuals (Luke 11:3); but it more generally denotes all kinds of baked and pastry articles of food. It is also used, however, in the more limited sense of bread made from wheat or barley, for rye is little cultivated in the East. The preparation of bread as an article of food dates from a very early period: it must not, however, be inferred from the use of the word lechem in Genesis 3:19 (" bread," A. V.) that it was known at the time of the fall, the word there occurring in its general sense of food: the earliest undoubted instance of its use is found in Genesis 18:6.

1. Materials. The corn or grain (שֵׁבֶר, she'ber, דָּנָן, dagan') employed was of various sorts: the best bread was made of wheat, which, after being ground, produced the "flour" or "meal" (קֶמִח, ke'mach; ἄλευρον; Judges 6:19; 1 Samuel 1:24; 1 Kings 4:22; 1 Kings 17:12; 1 Kings 17:14), and when sifted the "fine flour" (סֹלֶת, so'leth, more fully סֹלֶת חַטַּים, Exodus 29:2; or קֶמִח סֹלֶת , Genesis 18:6; σεμίδαλις ) usually employed in the sacred offerings (Exodus 29:40; Leviticus 2:1; Ezekiel 46:14), and in the meals of the wealthy (1 Kings 4:22; 2 Kings 7:1; Ezekiel 16:13; Ezekiel 16:19; Revelation 18:13). "Barley" was used only by the very poor (John 6:9; John 6:18), or in times of scarcity (Ruth 3:15, compared with 1:1; 2 Kings 4:38; 2 Kings 4:42; Revelation 6:6; Joseph. War, v, 10, 2): as it was the food of horses (1 Kings 4:28), it was considered a symbol of what was mean and insignificant (Judges 7:13; comp. Joseph. Ant. v, 6, 4, μάζαν κριθίνην, ὑπ᾿ εὐτελείας ἀνθρώποις ἄβρωτον; Liv. 27:13). as well as of what was of a mere animal character, and hence ordered for the offering of jealousy (Numbers 5:15; comp. Hosea 3:2; Philo, ii, 307). "Spelt" (כֻּסֶּמֶת, kusse'meth; ὄλυρα, ζέα; V. rye, fitches, spelt) was also used both in Egypt (Exodus 9:32) and Palestine (Isaiah 28:25; Ezekiel 4:9; 1 Kings 19:6; Sept. ἐλκρυφίας ὀλυρίτης): Herodotus I indeed states (ii. 36) that in the former country bread was made exclusively of olyra, which, as in the Sept., he identifies with zea; but in this he was mistaken, as wheat was also used (Exodus 9:32; comp. Wilkinson, Anc. Eg. ii, 397). Occasionally the grains above mentioned were mixed, and other ingredients, such as beans, lentils, and millet, were added (Ezekiel 4:9; comp. 2 Samuel 17:28); the bread so produced is called "barley cakes" (Ezekiel 4:12; A. V. "as barley cakes"), inasmuch as barley was the main ingredient. The amount of meal required for a single baking was an ephah or three measures (Genesis 18:6; Judges 6:19; 1 Samuel 1:24; Matthew 13:33), which appears to have been suited to the size of the ordinary oven. Grain is ground daily in the East. (See MILL).

2. Preparation. After the wheaten flour is taken from the hand-mill, it is made into a dough or paste in a small wooden trough. (See KNEADING- TROUGH). The process of making bread was as follows: the flour was first mixed with water, or perhaps milk (Burckhardt's Notes on the Bedouins, i, 58); it was then kneaded (לוּשׁ ) with the hands (in Egypt with the feet also; Herod. ii, 36; Wilkinson, ii, 386) in a small wooden bowl or "kneading- trough" (מַשְׁאֶרֶת, mishe'reth, a term which may, however, rather refer to the leathern bag in which the Bedouins carry their provisions, and which serves both as a wallet and a table; Niebuhr's Voyage, i, 171; Harmer, 4:366 sq.; the Sept. inclines to this view, giving ἐγκαταλείμματα [A. V. "store"] in Deuteronomy 28:5; Deuteronomy 28:17; the expression in Exodus 12:34, however, "bound up in their clothes," favors the idea of a wooden bowl), until it became dough (בָּצֵק, batsek'; σταῖς, Exodus 12:34; Exodus 12:39; 2 Samuel 13:8; Jeremiah 6:18; Hosea 7:4; the term "dough" is improperly given in the A. V. for עֲרַיסוֹת, grits, in Numbers 15:20-21; Nehemiah 10:37; Ezekiel 44:30). When the kneading was completed, leaven (שְׂאֹר, seor'; ζύμη) was generally added; but when the time for preparation was short, it was omitted, and unleavened cakes, hastily baked, were eaten, as is still the prevalent custom among the Bedouins (Genesis 18:6; Genesis 19:3; Exodus 12:39; Judges 6:19; 1 Samuel 28:24). (See LEAVEN).

Such cakes were termed מִצּוֹת, matstsoth' (Sept. ἄζυμα), a word of doubtful sense, variously supposed to convey the ideas of thinness (Fiirst, Lex. s.v.), sweetness (Gesen. Thesaur. p. 815), or purity (Knobel, Comm. in Exodus 12:20), while leavened bread was called חָמֵוֹ, chamets' (lit. sharpened or soured; Exodus 12:39; Hosea 7:4). Unleavened cakes were ordered to be eaten at the Passover to commemorate the hastiness of the departure (Exodus 12:15; Exodus 13:3; Exodus 13:7; Deuteronomy 16:3), as well as on other sacred occasions (Leviticus 2:11; Leviticus 6:16; Numbers 6:15). The leavened mass was allowed to stand for some time (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:21), sometimes for a whole night ("their baker sleepeth all the night," Hosea 7:6), exposed to a moderate heat in order to forward the fermentation (" he ceaseth from stirring" [ מֵעַיר A. V. "raising"] the fire " until it be leavened," Hosea 7:4). The dough was then divided into round cakes (כַּכְּרוֹת לֶחֶם, lit. circles of bread; ἄρτοι; A. V. "loaves;" Exodus 29:23; Judges 8:5; 1 Samuel 10:3; Proverbs 6:26; in Judges 7:13, i, צְלוּל , , μαγίς ), not unlike flat stones in shape and appearance (Matthew 7:9; comp. 4:3), about a span in diameter and a finger's breadth in thickness (comp. Lane's Modern Egyptians, i, 164): three of these were required for the meal of a single person (Luke 11:5), and consequently one was barely sufficient to sustain life (1 Samuel 2:36, A. V. "morsel;" Jeremiah 37:21, A. V. "piece"), whence the expression לֶחֶם לִחִוֹ, "bread of affliction" (1 Kings 22:27; Isaiah 30:20), referring not to the quality (pane plebeio, Grotius), but to the quantity; two hundred would suffice for a party for a reasonable time (1 Samuel 25:18; 2 Samuel 16:1). The cakes were sometimes punctured, and hence called חִלָּה chalah' (κολλυρίς ; Exodus 29:2; Exodus 29:23; Leviticus 2:4; Leviticus 8:26; Leviticus 24:5; Numbers 15:20; 2 Samuel 6:19), and mixed with oil. Similar cakes, sprinkled with seeds, were made in Egypt (Wilkinson, ii, 386). Sometimes they were rolled out into wafers (רָקַיק, rakik'; λάγανον ; Exodus 29:2; Exodus 29:23; Leviticus 2:4; Numbers 6:15-19), and merely coated with oil. Oil was occasionally added to the ordinary cake (1 Kings 17:12). A more delicate kind of cake is described in 2 Samuel 13:6; 2 Samuel 13:8; 2 Samuel 13:10; the dough (A. V. "flour") is kneaded a second time, and probably fried in fat, as seems to be implied in the name לְבַיבוֹת, lebiboth', q. d. dough-nuts (from לָבִב, to befaet, kindred with לֵבָב , heart; compare our expression hearty food; Sept. κολλυρίδες; Vulg. sorbitiunculce). (See below.)

3. Baking. The cakes were now taken to the oven; having been first, according to the practice in Egypt, gathered into " white baskets" (Genesis 40:16), סִלֵּי חֹרַי, salley' chori', a doubtful expression, referred by some to the whiteness of the bread (Sept. κανᾶ χονδριτῶν; Aquil. κὀφινοι γύρεως; Vulg. canistra farina), by others, as in the A. V., to the whiteness of the baskets, and again, by connecting the word חֹרַי with the idea of a hole, to an open-work basket (margin, A. V.), or, lastly, to bread baked in a hole. The baskets were placed on a tray and carried on the baker's head (Genesis 40:16; Herod. ii, 35; Wilkinson, ii, 386). (See BASKET).

The baking was done in primitive times by the mistress of the house (Genesis 18:6) or one of the daughters (2 Samuel 13:8); female servants were, however, employed in large households (1 Samuel 8:13): it appears always to have been the proper business of women in a family (Jeremiah 7:18; Jeremiah 44:19; Matthew 13:33; comp. Plin. 18:11, 28). Baking, as a profession, was carried on by men (Hosea 7:4; Hosea 7:6). In Jerusalem the bakers congregated in one quarter of the town, as we may infer from the name "bakers' street" (Jeremiah 37:21), and "tower of the ovens" (Nehemiah 3:11; Nehemiah 12:38); A. V. "furnaces." In the time of the Herods, bakers were scattered throughout the towns of Palestine (Joseph. Ant. 15:9, 2). As the bread was made in thin cakes, which soon became dry and unpalatable, it was usual to bake daily, or when required (Genesis 18:6; comp. Harmer's Observations, i, 483): reference is perhaps made to this in the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3). The bread taken by persons on a journey (Genesis 45:23; Joshua 9:12) was probably a kind of biscuit. (See BAKE).

The methods of baking (אָפָה, aphah') were, and still are, very various in the East, adapted to the various styles of life. In the towns, where professional bakers resided, there were no doubt fixed ovens, in shape and size resembling those in use among ourselves; but more usually each household possessed a portable oven (תִנּוּר, tannur'; κλίβανος), consisting of a stone or metal jar about three feet high, which was heated inwardly with wood (1 Kings 17:12; Isaiah 44:15; Jeremiah 7:18) or dried grass and flower-stalks (χόρτος, Matthew 6:30); when the fire had burned down, the cakes were applied either inwardly (Herod. ii, 92) or outwardly: such ovens were used by the Egyptians (Wilkinson, ii, 385), and by the Easterns of Jeronme's time (Comment. in Lam. v, 10), and are still common among the Bedouins (Wellsted's Travels, i, 350; Niebuhr's Descript. de I'Arabie, p. 45, 46). The use of a single oven by several families only took place in time of famine (Leviticus 26:26). Another species of oven consisted of a hole dug in the ground, the sides of which were coated with clay and the bottom with pebbles (Harmer, i, 487). Jahn (Archaol. i, 9, § 140) thinks that this oven is referred to in the term כַירִיַם, kira'yim (Leviticus 11:35); but the dual number is an objection to this view; the term חֹרַי above (Genesis 40:16) has also been referred to it. (See OVEN).

Other modes of baking were specially adapted to the migratory habits of the pastoral Jews, as of the modern Bedouins; the cakes were either spread upon stones, which were previously heated by lighting a fire above them (Burckhardt's Notes, i, 58) or beneath them (Belzoni's Travels, p. 84); or they were thrown into the heated embers of the fire itself (Wellsted's Travels, i, 350; Niebuhr, Descript. p. 46); or, lastly, they were roasted by being placed between layers of dung, which burns slowly, and is therefore specially adapted for the purpose (Ezra 4:12; Ezra 4:15; Burckhardt's Notes, i, 57; Niebuhr's Descript. p. 46). The terms by which such cakes were described were עֻגָּה, uggah' (Genesis 18:6; Exodus 12:39; 1 Kings 17:13; Ezra 4:12; Hosea 7:8), מָעוֹג, (1 Kings 17:12; Psalms 35:16), or more fully עֻגִּת רְצָפַים ., uggath' retsaphin' (1 Kings 19:6, lit. on the stones,' "coals," A. V ), the term עֻגָּה referring, however, not to the mode of baking, but to the rounded shape of the cake (Gesen. Thesaur. p. 997): the equivalent terms in the Sept. ἐγκρυφίας, and in the Vulg. subcizericius panis, have direct reference to the peculiar mode of baking.

The cakes required to be carefully turned suring the process (Hosea 7:8; Harmer, i, 488). Other methods were used for other kinds of bread; some were baked on a pan (מִחֲבִת ; τήγανον; sartago: the Greek term survives in the tajen of the Bedouins), the result being similar to the khubz still used among the latter people (Burckhardt's Notes, i, 58), or like the Greek ταγήνιαι, which were baked in oil, and eaten warm with honey (Athen. 14:55, p. 64C); such cakes appeared to have been chiefly used as sacred offerings (Leviticus 2:5; Leviticus 6:14; Leviticus 7:9; 1 Chronicles 23:29). A similar cooking utensil was used by Tamar (2 Samuel 13:9, מִחֲבִת ; τὴγανον), in which she baked the cakes and then emptied them out in a heap (יָצִק, not " poured," as if it had been broth) before Ammon. A different kind of bread, probably resembling the ftita of the Bedouins, apasty substance (Burckhardt's Notes, i, 57), was prepared in a saucepan (מִרְחֶשֶׁת; ἐσχάρα; craticula; A. V. frying-pan; none of which meanings, however, correspond with the etymological sense of the word, which is connected with boiling); this was also reserved for sacred offerings (Leviticus 2:7; Leviticus 7:9). As the above-mentioned kinds of bread (the last excepted) were thin and crisp, the mode of eating them was by breaking (Leviticus 2:6; Isaiah 58:7; Lamentations 4:4; Matthew 14:19; Matthew 15:36; Matthew 26:26; Acts 20:11; comp. Xen. Anab. 7:3, § 22, ἄρτους διέκλα), whence the term פָּרִס, to break = to give bread (Jeremiah 16:7); the pieces broken for consumption were called

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Bread'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/b/bread.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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